In the first 30 years of its existence, Ealing was one of the country's leading clubs. It produced many fine players, particularly amongst the ladies, none of them more so than Mrs. Hillyard (the former Blanche Bingley), Mrs. A. Sterry (Charlotte Cooper) and the great Dorothea Lambert Chambers (née Dorothea Douglass). Between them this doughty trio won no fewer than 18 Wimbledon singles titles and were runners-up a further 17 times.Blanche Bingley appeared in the first Wimbledon ladies championship in 1884 (there were 13 competitors) and took the title two years later when she beat the holder Maud Watson. Blanche Bingley won six times in all, the last in 1900, and was runner-up seven times. Five of these were lost to the amazing Lottie Dod, probably the leading female athlete of the day. Her final Wimbledon appearance was in 1912, an astonishing 29 years after her first.
Dorothea Lambert Chambers
Dorothea Lambert Chambers, born in Ealing, was the most famous of the Ealing LTC female trio. She won her first Wimbledon singles title in 1903 (capturing also the ladies and mixed doubles titles, although these events played elsewhere did not enjoy the same status as they do today) and her last in 1914. In all she won seven times and appeared in another four finals. When the Meeting resumed after the World War 1 in 1919, Dorothea Lambert Chambers awaited the All-Comers winner in the Challenge Round - the incomparable Suzanne Lenglen. Their titanic battle, still remembered as one of the greatest matches ever seen, resulted in Lenglen taking the title on her first attempt by 10-8, 4-6, 9-7 after saving two match points. They met again the following year when Suzanne was a comfortable winner. Although she continued to compete for a further five years, 1920 was Mrs. Chambers' last appearance in a Wimbledon final when she also lost the ladies doubles (playing with Mrs. Larcombe) to Suzanne and the arch-exponent of the game, Elizabeth
Dorothea Lambert Chambers Blue Plaque Unveiling, 27 July 2005
Dorothea was honoured with an English Heritage Blue Plaque on her home in Ealing on 27 July 2005. The club hosted the unveiling ceremony, which was attended by over 50 people. The club hosted a lunchtime reception after the unveiling. See the event press release and our Hon President's speech transcript.
Lest the men feel overlooked, there were many excellent players in Ealing's early years; C.H. and J. Martin, a leading doubles pair, the excellent coach Henry Lawrence who taught many of the ladies to play, and A.R. and E.S. Littlejohn, also accomplished cricketers.
In 1906 the Club moved to its present Creffield Road site, taking the clubhouse with it. During World War 1 club membership, understandably dwindled down to 62 members. A new clubhouse was built in 1926, and extended in 1929. The spacious ground with its twenty courts attracted new members in increasing numbers, and the ladies' team, ever invincible, continually won the Middlesex Cup.